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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Sox by the Numbers
by Bob Swagger

Team Revenue Revisited

by Bob Swagger

There has been a lot of talk lately about how much money the Sox are making and how much their payroll should be.† Thereís been a lot of rumors that Reinsdorf and Co. is raking it in because they own everything from the parking lots to SportsService (both have yet to be proven true.)† I consider myself a numbers guy. So I took the one area that fans can access the most numerical information on and tried to calculate what the White Sox 2003 ticket revenues were.† Here is my analysis:†

1,939,524.† That is the number of fans that went to the Cell in 2003.

For the sake of argument, letís make some educated assumptions.† Letís assume there are:

7500 seats in the lower deck (LD) between the bases

8000 LD Box

4500 LD reserved

4000 bleacher seats

2500 Club Level

13000 UD Box seats

6600 UD Reserved (the seats being ripped out of the Cell for 2004)

Add this up and you get 46,100.† Roughly the capacity of the Cell.

Now letís also assume (based on published reports) that the Sox had 12,000 season ticket holders.† This counts as 970,000 of the Sox total attendance.† Breaking this down (and I am making some assumptions that probably arenít too far off) this is what I come up with for revenues by those season ticket holders (Price X† no. of ticket holders in section X 81 games):

Season Ticket Prices/loc†††††††† # of seats sold††††† Total Revenue for 81 games

† $25/LD between bases†††††††††††††††††† 6000†††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††† $12,150,100

† $22/LD Box†††††† †††††††††††††† †††††††††††††† 2500††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† $4,455,000

† $27/Club††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1500††††† †††††††††††††† †††††††††††††† $3,280,500

† $17/UD Box††††† †††††††††††††† †††††††††††††† 2000††††† †††††††††††††† †††††††††††††† $2,754,000

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††† †††††††††† TOTAL† $22,639,500

So 970,000 fans accounts for $22,639,500 in revenue.

Now the Sox played 9 half price Monday games and 12 Tuesday half price games.† Season ticket holders donít get half price tickets so they are exempt from this.† The Sox averaged about 32,000 on those nights, so an extra 20,000 people showed up.† Over 21 games this accounts for 420,000.† Now as another way to show Iím not trying to sneak anything past anyone here, Iím going to assume the Sox sold the 20,000 most expensive of the remaining seats (ie not the cheap oneís way up even if there were a few games they did sell.)

This is how I broke it down:

Seat location††††††††††† Ĺ price cost††††† x†††# of seats avail †††††x††† 21 game tots† =†††† Tot.Rev

Club†††† ††††††††††† $20.00†† ††††††††††† †††††††††††1000†††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 21,000† †††††††††††$420,000

LD b/w bases††† $16.50††††††††††††† ††††††††††† 1500†††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 31,500† ††††††††† †$519,750

LD-Box††††††††††† $14.50† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 5500†††† ††††††††††† †††††††††† 115,500††††††††† $1,674,000

Bleachers††††††††††$11.00††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††4000†††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 84,000† ††††††††††† $924,000

LD Res ††††††††††† $12.00††††† ††††††† ††††††††††† 4500†††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 94,500† †††††††††$1,134,000

UD Box††††††††††† $10.00†††††† †††††† ††††††††††† 3500†††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 73,500† †††††††† †††$735,000

Totals††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††† 20,000† ††††††††††† †††††††††††† 420,000†††††††††††$5,406,750

Now I am going to assume the Sox had 4 sell out crowds during NON half price games.† The Cubs series and opening day.† Roughly 12,000 tickets were sold for the season so letís assume 34,100 fans paid full price to see those games.

Location††††††††††† Tix price†††† # seats avail†††† X 4 sell outs††††† ††††††††††† Total Revenue

Club†††† ††††††††††††† $40†††††† ††††††††††† 1000†††† ††††††††††† 4000†††† ††††††††††† ††††††† $160,000

LD b/w lines†††††† $33†††††† ††††††††††† 1500†††† ††††††††††† 6000†††† ††††††††††† †††††††† $198,000

L/D Box†††††††††† † $29†††††† ††††††††††† 5500†††† ††††††††††22,000† ††††††††††† †††††††††† $638,000

LD Res †††††††††††† $24†††††† ††††††††††† 4500†††† ††††††††††18,000† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† $432,000

Bleachers†††††††††† $22†††††† ††††††††††† 4000†††† †††††††††††16,000† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† $352,000

UD Box†††††††††††† $20†††††† ††††††††††11,000† ††††††††††† 44,000† ††††††††††† †††††† ††††† $880,000

UD Res †††††††††††† $14†††††† ††††††††††† 6600†††† ††††††††††26,400† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† $369,600

TOTALS††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 34,100† ††††††††††† 136,400††††††††††††††††††††† $3,029,600

Based on the math, that leaves the Sox with 413,124 tickets for the remaining56 games that were sold at regular price (1,939,524-970,000-420,000-136,000.)†† Letís assume at those games that the most expensive tickets were sold first even if they werenít (how often did the club level sell out or was every lower deck seat sold before any upper deck seat??)† 413,124people /56games=7378 per game if I round up.

Location††††††††††† Price†††† ††††††††††† # seats avail†††† ††††††††††† X56 games†† Total revenue

Club†††† ††††††††††† $40†††††† ††††††††††† 1000†††† ††††††††††† †††††††††††† 56,000† ††††††††††† $2,240,000

LD b/w lines†††† $33†††††† ††††††††††† 1500†††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 84,000† †††††††††† † $2,772,000

LD Box †††††††††††$29†††††† ††††††††††† 4878†††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 273,168††††††††††† $ 7,921,872

Totals††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 7378†††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 413,168††††††††††† $12,933,872

Now letís add up the totals:

Scenario†††† †††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† # of fans †††† ††††††††††††Total Revenue

Season Ticket holders††††††††††† ††970,000††††††††††††††††††††† $22,639,500

Ĺ price walk ups†††††† †††††††††††††† 420,000†††††††††††††††††††††† $5,406,750

4 sell out walk ups†††††† ††††††††† †† 136,400†††††††††††††††††††††† $3,029,600

Walk ups for other 56 games††††††††413,168††††††††††† †††††††† $12,933,872

Totals††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† 1,939,568††††††† ††††††††††† $44,009,722

Now this is 12% lower then the $50 mill revenue.† One more thing to keep in mind.† On a club level ticket stub for a season ticket a cost breakdown is provided.† Of that $27 ticket price $1.72 goes to a city tax and $.74 goes to a county tax.† If my math is correct, that is 9%.† Iím certain that when the value of a ticket changes (on half price night or for different sections) the tax rate is still 9% of that total.† That leaves 91% of the above total to JR or† leaves with $40,048,847.† Still a lot of money, but maybe not as much as many think he is getting.†

Note:† When I computed these numbers I got my day of game ticket prices from the Sox schedule.† The Club level and lower deck individual seat prices were based on what I read at other sources to be the seat price.† My season ticket price determinations were made from people I know who sit in different seats (Iím looking at a friend of mineís club level ticket right now with the tax breakdown.)† I always tried to round up when in most cases I was being overly generous.† For example there are more then 6600 UD Res. Seats.† I just used that based on the number of seats being torn out.† It looks like almost half the UD was priced at $14 in 2003.† Also, the Club Level seats very rarely sold out, but I counted them as sell outs for all 81 games, even when I know this is not the case. Next time youíre at a Wednesday night game, look at the Club level.† I doubt that the whole Club level is sold out and that itís just coincidence that the fans who have seats down the OF lines fail to show up 50 times a year. Last, Iím guessing Pepsi kicked in no more then $2 million for the sponsorship of the Ĺ price Tuesdayís and even thatís generous.† If you want to look at it a slightly different way, do you think that Pepsi was paying the Sox $10/ fan for fans who brought in 50 cent cans of Pepsi to a game?† I didnít break down sky boxes because I donít know enough about them.† As far as I know there are 76, not 100 of them as has been estimated earlier.† And while some are more expensive then others, there are many that are not even sold.† Again, next time youíre at a game with 18,000 people look around at what seats/sky boxes are actually occupied.† Sometimes the Bleachers arenít sold completely and the UD has more then 2000 people sitting in it. ††Itís very possible that the White Sox take on ticket revenue was in the $37-39 mill range.

So whatís my point for doing this analysis?† Iím certainly not a fan of Sox ownership as I feel they have cost the team a lot of opportunities to win the last 23 years.† But I do think baseball is a business, and for most teams itís a tough business.† For those owners that do show small profits, I do think they are entitled to that.† And while some teams are profitable, many arenít (including, I believe, this one.)† I was just trying to show that things arenít as they appear to be by looking at the one area of the game that I could attach numbers to.†



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